Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Smith & Wesson Model 642 in a Blackhawk Premium Leather Holster. We also have an Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD watch, a Maglite flashlight and a Buck Knives folding knife.
Gun: Smith & Wesson Model 642 ($525)
When it comes to concealed-carry guns, it doesn’t get much more classic than the time-tested Smith & Wesson J-frame lineup, and the Model 642 is no exception. This particular gun debuted in 1995 as the aluminum-framed Airweight sibling of the company’s steel-framed Model 640. As such, this wheelgun weighs in at a scant 15 ounces and is rated for .38 Special +P loads.
However, as our clued-in viewers might have already noticed, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Model 642. The Smith & Wesson Performance Center released this Enhanced Action variant of the design, featuring a worked-over trigger that smooths the double-action-only design. The pistol also features attractive, comfortable wood stocks that offer a secure firing grip without compromising concealability.
Holster: Blackhawk Premium Leather Holster ($99.95)
I chose to carry the Model 642 inside the waistband, so I turned to Blackhawk and the company’s new line of leather holsters. Generally speaking, Blackhawk holsters have always tended toward the tactical, offering holsters made from polymer, nylon and other cutting-edge materials. In 2018, the company’s all-new line of Premium Leather Holsters, introduced in 2018, offers a more-traditional option, which is perfect for this undeniably traditional yet eminently effective concealed-carry gun.
The holsters are all made in Italy and include an adjustable tension screw that enables wearers to fine-tune the holster’s friction retention. The holster attaches with metal belt clip and has a reinforced mouth that aids in reholstering, as well as a sweat guard that keeps the gun away from the wearer’s body.
Flashlight: Maglite Mag-Tac ($95)
Remember those classic Maglite flashlights? You know, the ones that weighed a ton and could double as a bludgeon? Yeah, the company’s come a ways since then and now offers carry-sized lights in the form of its Mag-Tac, Maglite’s first-ever CR123A-powered light. This new design features the easily operated tailcap switch and operates with three modes: momentary-on, full-power and strobe. At its maximum output, the light will flood any area with a respectable 320 lumens and runs for an impressive four hours.
Knife: Buck Knives Alumni ($30)
Designed with compact, discreet carry in mind, the Buck Alumni knife features a short blade measuring just under two inches long, making it legal to carry in many jurisdictions. The folding blade is secured into place with a lock-back mechanism, and the anodized-aluminum handle can be had in black, blue, gold and gray colors. Consumers can also order the Alumni with a personalized inscription engraved into the handle for a small added fee.
Watch: Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD Watch ($79.95)
If you’re more of a traditionalist, the kind of guy or gal who prefers a tried-and-true wheelgun like the Model 642, chances are you might be a traditionalist in other ways. Maybe you prefer a mechanical watch instead of checking your smartphone screen all the time? If so, the Outdoor Edge Paraclaw CQD watch is a neat option with a few built-in surprises. The strap is made from durable 550 paracord, incredibly useful in emergency scenarios. Also found on the watch buckle is a small Paraclaw blade that can be used for utility or personal-defense in a pinch.